It’s National Volunteer Week, and the opportunity to give back to the community may be right in your backyard.
If you live in Darby Borough, consider becoming a volunteer with Darby Fire Company #1. Known for their quick and aggressive response to emergencies, this all-volunteer organization has protected people and property for over 200 years – but in order to continue that legacy, they need all hands on deck.
“Volunteers are what make this company great,” says Jim Booth, a firefighter with Darby #1, as well as the company’s recruitment and retention coordinator. “We need their hard work and selfless service. More volunteers means more efficiency in keeping our community safe and secure.”
It’s not just about firefighting, although firefighters are certainly always needed. Volunteers can also serve as fire police, controlling traffic and crowds at the scene of an emergency, or perform administrative duties like fundraising, event planning, office management and tech support.
Even teenagers can volunteer as training members starting at age 15, assisting the crew and learning the skills needed to become a full-fledged firefighter as an adult.
But you don’t get paid, and it may be hard to find the time outside work and family obligations. So why volunteer?
Darby members mention many reasons for their service. For one, there’s a sense of family and “brotherhood” to be found in the fire service.
“The camaraderie is second to none,” says Lew Epright, chief engineer with the company. “Each of us is willing to give our lives to assure our residents and fellow firefighters are safe.”
Picking up new skills and education is another benefit. The training and equipment is provided to volunteers at no cost to them, and no prior experience in emergency response is needed to join. Members have taken what they’ve learned at Darby into other careers – full-time firefighting and EMS, law enforcement, construction and HVAC, and beyond.
And, of course, there’s the opportunity to serve your community – to protect friends and neighbors and help them out on what could be the worst day of their lives.
So no matter how much time one can give or how much experience they have, volunteering at Darby Fire Company #1 can be for everyone, says Booth.
“Whether you can give an hour a week or 40 hours per week, this place will become a part of who you are.”